Stride into the New Year: setting goals for your mental health
by Kat Rowe | January 13, 2023
Think back to this time last year and what you have achieved in the past 12 months. You’ve tackled setbacks, you’ve learned new things that have helped you grow, and now you’re preparing for the next step in your recovery journey.
The road to managing your mental health is never a straight line but each step we take leads us closer to our goals and aspirations for a fulfilling life.
The new year is a great time to set yourself attainable goals that build on everything you achieved in 2022. Whether it’s an ambitious leap or baby steps, we’re here to help you on your way.
To clarify your ideas and focus your efforts, your goals need to be SMART:
- Specific: Don’t skip the details, what exactly do you want to achieve?
- Measurable: How will you track your progress?
- Attainable: Are your goals realistic?
- Relevant: Does it align with your values, dreams and ambitions?-
- Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline to help hold you accountable.
Your physical health
According to research conducted by Dietitians Australia, evidence suggests that a poor diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety. Further insights also revealed that people who reported past depression were less likely to eat an unhealthy diet than those who did not.
By committing to making healthy changes in your diet – such as eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and fibre, and cutting down on sugary drinks and fast food – not only gives your body the energy it needs, but it also boosts your physical health, which goes hand-in-hand with your mental health.
When you’re feeling stressed or down, the last thing you feel like doing is exercise, but it may be the exact thing you need to improve your mindset.
Exercise pumps blood to the brain, which helps you think more clearly and releases mood-boosting chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. It also gets you outside, experiencing nature and connecting with your community.
Exercise and Mental Health Professor, Alex Parker spoke to headspace about how you can get started with these five easy steps:
1. Start small: Set small, achievable goals to help you feel more motivated, like walking to your local coffee shop instead of driving.
2. Keep track: Use a notepad or journal to track your progress and how you feel before and after exercise. If you’re lacking motivation (like all of us do), read the notes in your journal to remind yourself of how proud you felt last time.
3. Do what you enjoy: Whether you prefer team sports, swimming or the gym, as long as you’re moving and having fun it doesn’t matter!
4. Make the time: Try not to push exercise to the bottom of the to-do list when times get tough. Some days you might only be able to allocate 5 mins to exercise and that’s okay, you will still feel better for it.
5. Set a routine: Plan ahead, get your workout gear ready the night before and set an alarm so you’re ready to take on the day.
Your professional life
If you, or someone you know, are taking productive steps towards bettering their mental health and ready to set new goals for 2023 reach out to our team of mental health professionals who can help connect you with one of our services.
With the experience and expertise of our passionate staff, you can build a better today, tomorrow and future. Start the conversation today.